Interview with Markus Mueller, Underground Empire Magazine, Germany

Live interview transcript translated to German for the magazine, then back to English, so some meaning may be garbled.

Marcus came to the US back in the late 80s or early 90s and visited various contacts he had made in here. He stayed at my house for about 2 weeks because there were so many metal bands in Brandon and the surrounding area at that time and he saw a lot of shows and interviewed and reviewed many local bands, including Nasty Savage, Siren, Savatage, Atomic Opera, Morbid Angel, almost all personal friends of ours.

Marcus Mueller, Underground Empire: VENGEANCE INC. might just about be the longest serving heavy metal band from Tampa Bay, Florida, next to SAVATAGE. Although the band has been around for ten years now, they never managed to land a decent deal. The boys signed with indie PROPAGANDA RECORDS in 1988, but since the label went bankrupt in early 1989 when the cassette version of »Malicious Intent« was released, it stayed with this one. But back to history. After VENGEANCE INC. After several years of touring through the bars in Florida under their original name VENGEANCE and performing cover versions there, they decided in 1985 to only play originals. Soon after, the first demo »Predator« was recorded. At the beginning of 1989 the previously mentioned “Malicious Intent” tape followed. I chatted with the somewhat taciturn bandleader, bassist and singer, Guy

MM: What influenced you and how would you describe your style?

Guy: Early 80’s Metal, mostly NWoBHM such as MAIDEN, Ozzy and ACCEPT, plus masters like Priest, Scorps, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper. We try to put as many vocal harmonies in the foreground as possible. But it is also very important to us that the guitar solos have a lot of melody and direction, not just pointless noodling as fast as you can play. That’s not to say that Curt, especially, is a slowhand guitarist, he shreds with the best. He just does so with a point. All his solos are composed, not jammed. Many times I’ve asked him to do a harmony to a newly laid down solo and he rips off a 3rd or a 5th or something more exotic without missing a beat, he just does it.

MM: How do you feel about the fact that so many other bands have used “Vengeance” as a band name?

Guy: We were the first band with that name, which we gave ourselves back in 1980. However, you can’t fight 1000 other bands and now that we are getting a lot of press and airplay in Europe there is so much confusion with those Dutch posers we changed our name to Vengeance Incorporated.

MM: How do you feel about the whole Speed/Thrash Metal flood that has completely overrun “normal” Heavy Metal?

Guy: Although the whole movement started a few years ago, not a single one of these speed/death/thrash bands has ever found mainstream success, at least not here in the States.

MM: How about SLAYER, METALLICA, etc.?

Guy: You’ll never hear a band like that on the radio in the US> Priest, Scorpions, UFO, etc sure, but not death and thrash or speed metal bands. I just think it’s a dumbing down of metal, much like punk was a reaction to progressive rock. “We can’t play real music, so we’ll play moron music.” You can never hear this music on the radio. I think you can get a lot further with music like the SCORPIONS or PRIEST make. While there are some fast, thrashy parts in our music, we also have some very commercial material.

MM: How about a new album?

Guy: At the moment we are in negotiations with a company called NOISE. If that doesn’t work, we’ll probably release it again on cassette. We’ve already recorded ten songs here in my 16-track home studio and we’ll probably have more to come.

MM: How did it happen that you as a band in the demo stage shoot a video clip?

Guy: Yeah, our guitarist Mike’s brother in law runs a professional lighting company and traded some lighting work for a video shoot. We hope it will help us get a record deal. If a label sees that we already have a video and they don’t have to invest any more money in that direction, maybe that favors their decision what VENGEANCE INC.

MM: The song is from your new albums, Malicious Intent?

Guy: Yeah, it’s Murder in Your Eyes from our latest album.

MM: Thanks, Guy, and the “Malicious Intent” tape is still available from the band. There are twelve songs on it with a pretty decent sound. The cassette is available for $4 from the band.

Markus Mueller, Underground Empire Magazine, Germany